Saturday, December 22, 2007

Letting Users Accurately Resize Text

Increasingly web designers are developing a compassion for users who would like to read their content. What a novel idea. A List Apart provides an interesting analysis of addressing website typography in CSS (found here), comparing line heights, pixels vs. ems, body size by percent, etc.

An interesting debate and worth a read.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Holiday Shopping Guide 2007, Vol 1

UncommonGoods: While the products are consistently fresh and original, their website is lacking in design and usability. They're a trusted, long-time quirky goods reseller. Be sure to sign up for their print catalog -- it's nice to browse through printed materials every now and then.

Elsewares: Taking a page out of Urban Outfitter's playbook, Elsewares is another success story in peddling original, quirky stuff on the web. Popular among urban-dwelling twenty-somethings, like the above UncommonGoods, this is the place for independent artist designed jewelry, clothes and products for your apartment (err, dorm?).

Branch: Recycled and earth-friendly products are perfect for an eco-minded gift recipient. One fact I especially warmed up to is that their founder Paul Donald is a former creative from Wired magazine.

GelaSkins and Mophie: Looking for great iPod accessories? These guys have got the hottest way to wrap, protect and accessorize the most precious of mp3 collections.

NY Transit Museum Store: For those passionate about trains, or more specifically NY's mass transit, this is the place. While the subway map emblazoned apparel and bags are a bit tacky, the old subway grab holds and original subway art make for tasteful, original gift ideas.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Burt's Bees Community Service Announcement

I fully disclose that Burt's Bees is a client of ours over at the agency, and I never leave the house without my Beeswax Lip Balm. With that said, I am still compelled to share news that these fine folks are raising awareness to a growing concern: our country's troubled bee population.

We have a problem with honey bees dying. This issue is important for all of us… not just nature lovin’ tree huggers. To learn more, visit the Burt's Bees site and watch a new video about dying honey bees.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Do-it-Yourself Flintstones Car for Kids

Yabba Dabba Doo! A member at Instructables has posted detailed instructions on how to build a Flintstones car for your kids! Brilliant idea, and very well executed. Eat your heart out Fisher-Price!

Warning: May not be appropriate for children under 3. Hazardous and dangerous to most children's health. Only use if your child grew up watching classic Hanna-Barbera cartoons, and is named Pebbles or Bam-Bam.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Sure, we've all faced challenging clients. They often put us on the spot in the middle of a creative pitch, and ask if we use "that software that makes logos," or share design comps they'd like you to consider... you know, the ones their high-school grade level nephew assembled.

Ever wonder if there was a comprehensive list of responses you could reference in cases like this? Go over to Eric Karjaluoto's ideasonideas blog — he's got just what you're looking for! Bravo.

Thx for the link Jeffrey Zeldman

Friday, October 26, 2007

Nintendo Wii Contributes to Healthy Marriages

As MediaPost reports, the Nintendo Wii has been recently hovering in the top spots of Amazon's wedding gift registry. Their observation that "Nintendo is no longer seen as an obstacle to a healthy marriage, but as a contributing factor," is very consistent with happenings in my own relationship.

My wife and I find that by participating in Nintendo Wii 2-player bowling or tennis, it brings us closer the way actual sports and activities tend to do. There's usually a hand-slapping "good job" to commend a nicely bowled strike. Or, a thorough taunting when my tennis serve is an ace (well, in all honesty, the taunting isn't always welcome).

Monday, October 22, 2007

Make-A-Wish Foundation Presents Beetle Boy

The Kaplan Thaler Group, one of my most favorite agencies in the whole wide world, just produced a memorable, creative, heart-touching and really smart new spot for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Related: One of my most favorite books, written by the founders of the Kaplan Thaler Group: Bang!: Getting Your Message Heard in a Noisy World - a must read!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

AUDI Plows Into Winter Sale

I rarely write about off-line advertising, but news of the grassroots campaign from Audi Canada caught my attention. They're placing ads on snow plows with a daunting message that warns "WINTER IS COMING."

While I'm a big fan of Audi and their efforts to be a green company, I question the environmental impact and carbon footprint from releasing these gargantuan gas-guzzling trucks onto the streets ... all in the name of advertising.

Thanks AdRants.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Future of Homepages

As reported on by our agency's voice of authority on User Experience, the "homepage" as we know it today may dramatically change in the near future.

The following are some interesting points from the article:

  • Overall, search, RSS and widgets are driving users deeper into websites
  • 50% or more of traffic on many top sites originate beyond the homepage
  • 60% of consumers customize their start pages
  • 56% use RSS
  • 54% use search engines to start their shopping experiences

Monday, October 08, 2007

Temperamental iPod Touch(s)

Dumb and Dumber. That's what my wife and I are calling our two 16GB iPod Touch devices.

This weekend, we stopped by the Apple store to replace our 30GB Video iPods (stolen from us on our recent cruise). Although we entered the store with the intent of purchasing 80 GB iPod Classics, we were completely enthralled by the fun factor of the Touch model.

Unfortunately our excitement and fascination with our new (*and expensive) gadgets quickly dwindled from the moment they were connected to our computers. Jen's iPod screen lost it's magical touch capability, completely freezing up with no online forum or tutorial offering a remedy.

Simultaneously, my troubles began when I attempted to connect my iPod. The device decided it didn' t like my USB2.0 PCI slot drive on my Powerbook, and only wanted to cooperate with my USB 1.0 input (with less-than-stellar data transfer rates). Next, iTunes refused to recognize that I actually connected a compatible device and insisted I try to restart, disconnect and reconnect an array of a dozen or so configurations before finally loading it.

Lastly, my patience wore thin when a pop-up window notified me that the music and videos I was attempting to sync were TWICE AS LARGE as the device's capacity. Then began the tedious process of weeding out podcasts, playlists and albums I guess I could live without. After a few more dances with configurations so that iTunes recognized my iPod again (it just disappeared from my devices), I called it a night and shut everything down.

My usability issues aside (well not really... I hate that i have to toggle through to get to my volume, lock my device and shut it off), this may not be the device for me. Simplicity and storage capacity reign supreme for me. It's what made me such a loyal fan of my Gen 2 and 4 iPod devices.

While my wife would like to exchange her iPod Touch for one that actually functions, I think I'll eat the $39 open box fee and send this bad boy back to the store. Anyone interested in giving me a good deal on a 30GB Video iPod?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Wish List: MultiPot

Ugly strip-style and aquatic-themed surge protectors are so passe´. You've got to get those wires contained in style! Enter the MultiPot

I'm blown away by the beauty and simplicity from Northern Italy lighting designer; Rotaliana. The MultiPot looks like an attractive, illuminated planter, 5 outlets and a generous length of feeder cable. The icing on the cake? A docking tray on top so you can conveniently charge your iPod, digital camera and phone.

This gadget is definitely going to find it's way into my home office.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A Place Between Us

A.PlaceBetween.Us is a great Google Maps mash-up that helps you and a friend find a spot to meet up for coffee, drinks, etc. Now when my friends from across town want to catch up for lunch, we don't have to waste time pinpointing a central spot to meet.

Props again to GetTRIO for the tip.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Airplane Grounded, Flooded Train Station and Large Pipe Burst

Today was just another page in my book of travel woes. For me, business travel is always an adventure. However, today's unique series of events bares mention, even if purely for the sake of entertainment.

Earlier this morning, my flight to Detroit — out of LGA — was canceled due to a severe weather system that swept through, wreaking havoc on travel across the tri-state area. AA kindly offered later flights, but were made available with little guarantee on time of departure. I, of course, learned this the hard way by taking them up on the offer.

As the time quickly approached 11am, my 12:30pm in-person Detroit meeting was no longer within reach. So, Plan B consisted of a 15-minute cab ride home, allowing me to dial-in and leisurely conduct the meeting from the comfort of my own home. Here's the part where I learned that the weather "wreaked havoc on ALL travel..."

Plan B began to derail when my 15 minute cab ride turned into a 2-hour ordeal. And boy, let me tell you — there's nothing like leading a meeting from a cab!

I'll save readers the gory details as to how my call went. My interesting story continues after I arrived home and considered heading into the office. News reports (and other reliable sources, ie. my wife) said that my train line was closed indefinitely due to water damage. "Water damage???" A further investigation revealed the extent of flooding.

This evening I learned that working from home may have been for the best. You see, news reports revealed that one of NYC's largest steam explosions took place only blocks away from my office. Read about it here, here and here. While my heart goes out to those who were injured in the mayhem, I'm thankful my wife and I were able to avoid it — and the gnarly mass transit delays that followed.

Oh, and the forecast shows similar severe weather for the next two days...

Monday, July 16, 2007

I Don't Always Eat Money

We're hiring. Yes, we're hiring at Avenue A | Razorfish. I am interested in sharing this news not just because of the prize money I could earn for hiring you, but also because I was instrumental in creating the video promotion.

Where US Presidency Campaign Finances reside

The has brilliantly assembled a map to highlight where 2008 US Presidential candidate campaign donations come from. Using this tool, just select a candidate and see where the deep pocketed supporters reside! Oh, and it's great fun to see what mid-western states are supporting the obscure candidates. Enjoy.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Who needs an iPhone when you have an iDea?

Creatives should always choose a table napkin over an iPhone.

"Like the iPhone, it's got simplicity going for it - and like the iPhone, it can accommodate your biggest ideas, then act as a vehicle to communicate it to the rest of the world. Add-on accessories include masking tape."

(courtesy of

Thursday, June 07, 2007

NYTimes' Eye For All That's Urban

Look out DailyCandy and MUG Newsletter, there's a new hip daily NY nightlife and shopping newsletter from the folks at called UrbanEye.

After receiving the newsletter for a couple of weeks, I've found their recommendations for restaurants, night spots, shopping, books and music to be on point. Being the NY Times, they shoot for a broader audience, unlike aforementioned dailies targeting hipsters.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Flickr User Posts from Around the World

flickrvision (beta) is an incredible new time waster, that integrates Google Maps with Flickr user data. Thumbnails of recent posts from Flickr users pop-up on a view of the world map, identifying where the posting originated from.

While this has no practical use, it's fascinating to occasionally log on to see what's visually going on around the world at a given time. Props goes to Get Trio for the link.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Now Working for Microsoft

As if every publication hasn't already offered enough coverage on the topic, I'd like to share the news that my employer; aQuantive (AQNT), today announced their acquisition by Microsoft (MSFT).

While every publication and ad rag may have offered you an outsider's take, I'm here to offer you an insider's perspective.

I first learned of the news by email this morning shortly before 8:30am EST. I read the note with mixed emotions — err, mostly surprise and amazement. Rumors of a Microsoft acquisition of our Atlas division have been floating around for weeks, but a purchase of Mother AQNT? Absurd! I wondered, alongside other early morning stragglers; "what would Microsoft want with an interactive advertising and media agency"? Sure, scoop up Atlas' ad-serving tool to go head-to-head with Google/DoubleClick = DoubleGoo. The price of the spin off might hover close to 1 billion, but the days of $3 billion ad-serving purchases are soooo last quarter. 24/7 only cost WPP $649 million!

So, my day at the office today consisted of several all-hands conference calls and in-person speeches — by every last AQNT and MSFT member of senior leadership. The word on the street is, naturally, "business as usual". Once the acquisition officially passes mustard with the U.S. Gov't, our business units will continue to operate separately from our new parent company, folding under MS Professional Services division. Sounds greeaaaat.

What does this mean for Avenue A | Razorfish? What does it mean for me? Time will tell, and this will surely be the spot you'll find out. Stay Tuned.

Monday, April 16, 2007

NY Auto Show 2007

Jen and I spent Saturday afternoon at the NY Auto Show. We were impressed with the amount of concept cars featured this year. One concept car in particular stood out — the Lincoln MKR. See all 60+ photos we took at the show.

Friday, March 23, 2007

A Dream of a Hotel

I've traveled a lot and have stayed in some extravagant hotels. But never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined the existence of such a massive, awe-inspiring creative exhibition as that of Hotel Puerta America Madrid.

You first have to wrap your head around the idea that each of the 13 floors were designed by a separate, world renowned architect or designer. In planning, each floor had a near limitless budget (total cost of hotel construction: $90 million) and the freedom to personally interpret what a hotel should look and feel like.

It's refreshing to see that their website does such beautiful justice to the monumental effort in erecting this masterpiece. When you stop by the site, soak up the rich photography, read designer bios, check out videos and explore each floor by devouring every thumbnail and clever caption.

Thanks to the fine folks at getTRIO for the link!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Improv'ing at the UCBT

Having a blast in my Improv 101 class at UCBT, taught by Zach Woods. I've been seeing shows at the Upright Citizens Brigade for 5+ years and without fail have always been enthralled by the performance. My clever and thoughtful wife bought me classes at the UCB as my 2-year anniversary gift. Just what we need in our relationship after 2 years — someone with formal training to 'turn up' the drama (?)

I feel the pressure being the only one in the class without formal acting training or aspirations to pursue a professional acting career. But a few classmates have assured me that they appreciate my deadpan delivery and the fact that I don't "over-act".

My classmate's comment may come as a surprise to my wife, seeing that on numerous occasions she's accused me of "over-acting" at home. But with my new training, I'm almost certain more drama at home will ensue.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

FreshDirect: Dinner at our Doorstep

I can't say enough good things about FreshDirect! Prepared dinners are exquisitely arranged, produce is remarkably fresh and they offer a healthy selection of organic foods. All of this wholesome goodness brought right to our door by a friendly delivery guy!

My one major gripe is their website — more than just a moot point, since it's the way you place an order. FreshDirect's product categorization leaves a bit to be desired as well as the navigation being quite clumsy and non-intuitive. Photos and descriptions are decent, however there must be more enticing ways to feature product.

Competitive prices with our local supermarket and a generous choice of delivery times have made this a service we can't live without. After a consultation with our usability team, there just may be hope for their site.

Monday, February 26, 2007

My Letter to Business 2.0

The following is a copy of my letter I sent to the Business 2.0 (magazine) editor. I was prompted to write in, after struggling through page-by-page with their recent issue of the redesigned pub. Does anyone else share in my opinion? I surely cannot be alone...

Dear Mr. Quittner & Co.,

I have been a long time subscriber and satisfied reader of your magazine. I am also a subscriber to similar publications such as FastCompany, BusinessWeek, WIRED, etc.

I am writing today to express my dissatisfaction with your new design and layout you recently rolled out. The look and feel suddenly feels cheap and amateurish. While I understand you are making efforts to cater to a new audience with much shorter attention spans thanks to the birth of new interactive media, the results are lackluster.

While your content is still attractive to me, as a result of the poor redesign, you have lost me as a reader. I will look to my other sources for pertinent business and technology news. Please write to me should you reconsider your magazine's new look. I will be easily persuaded to return as a faithful reader.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Itty Bitty Kitchen, Part II

While our "itty bitty" kitchen offers a delightful array of modern appliances, beautiful flooring and ample cabinet space—it entirely lacks direct sunlight.

Amazingly, it seems that a small town in Italy shares our grief. The mayor of Viganella, Italy, has deployed a giant steel mirror that tracks the sun’s movements. And what's incredible is that the huge mirror is controlled by a laptop!

Mum's the word if my wife's cosmetic mirror "mysteriously" goes missing...

Thursday, February 01, 2007


Sure, you say that your job gives you grey hair. And those fluorescent lights? ...they wreak havoc on your complexion. But did you ever think this weathering on your face could happen in real-time?

Career Builder has put together a simulator called the Age-O-Matic that allows you to upload your own photo and age yourself according to what you predict the damage your job will cause.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Classic Radio Programs

I found this great resource for Old Time Radio (OTR) programs. The OTR.Network Library is a free service with thousands of classic shows from the 30's and 40's. As The Morning News explains, is: "more authentic old-time radio than you can spin a dial at."

Monday, January 15, 2007

Our 2-Year Wedding Anniversary

I'm thrilled to share that tomorrow marks our second wedding anniversary. Jennifer and I will rejoice with a nice dinner in Chelsea, delighting in some time off from work the following day to relish in the past year's accomplishments as bride and groom. Such marks include our successful move into this charming new neighborhood, accelerating in our careers (1, 2), and most of all, developing as a healthy, newly married couple.

Friday, January 05, 2007

New Years 2007 @ Brasserie NYC

Avoided the crowds, enjoyed incredible food, dined among friends... a great way to bring in the new year.

Kudos to Brasserie for putting together an exquisite affair.